Almost half of new cars sold in Norway in the first six months of 2019 were fully electric, up from just over a quarter in the same period last year.
In total, 48.4 per cent of all new cars sold between January and June 2019 had fully electric engines, compared to the 31.2 per cent share across the whole of 2018.
The sale of petrol-fuelled cars dropped by almost 30 per cent in the same period, while the market share of hybrid cars also declined from 20 per cent to about 11 per cent.
The development means Norway remains the global leader in per-capita electric car sales by far, with second-place Iceland trailing by almost 30 per cent.
Politicians from across the political spectrum pledged in 2016 to ban all fossil fuel-based cars within the middle of the next decade in Norway and introduced tax breaks and other incentives for electric vehicles.
The policies have boosted the sales of brands that produce fully electric cars, as opposed to hybrid models that have both an electric and a combustion motor.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), which includes the more widely-sold plug-in hybrids when counting electric cars, estimated that 46 per cent of all cars sold in Norway in 2018 were electric, making the country the world’s leader in electric car adoption.
Iceland trailed in second place with about 17 per cent; Sweden came third with about 8 per cent. In the same period in the US, 2.4 per cent of car sales were for electric vehicles, while that dropped to 2.1 per cent for the UK.
According to the International Energy Agency, 2018 was “another record-breaking year” for electric car sales. Sales increased by 68 per cent in 2018 globally.
China was the biggest market with about one million electric car sales in 2018.
But while the trend confirms Norway’s status as one of the global leaders in the adoption of green policies, fossil fuels are an essential part of the country’s economy.
Revenues from oil and gas exports make up for about half of all of Norway’s exports and have made the country one of the world’s most affluent.
In 2017, the country surpassed Qatar and became the world’s second-largest natural gas exporter world behind Russia. Norway supplies about 25 per cent of the EU gas demand.
Nearly all oil and gas produced on the Norwegian shelf is exported.
In April 2019, the largest party in Norway’s parliament delivered a significant blow to the country’s huge oil industry after withdrawing support for explorative drilling off the Lofoten islands in the Arctic, which are considered a natural wonder.
The move comes days after Norway’s government gave the go-ahead for its $1trillion (£760bn) oil fund – the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund – to invest in renewable energy projects not listed on stock markets.
Billions are expected to be spent on wind and solar power projects.
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